It’s not exactly a huge surprise that the eruption of Mount Eyjafjallajökull has left the UK frozen by travel chaos. This is after all a country that grinds to a halt when the first snowflake drops from the skies, when it rains a bit or when some dozy sod decides to flick the wrong switch at Eurotunnel HQ.
Now anyone with holiday plans is having to stay at home, drink beer and play online poker for the first time since the ‘wrong snow’ fell on our runways. This time, at least it’s because a volcano has erupted – albeit in some far away country of which we know little.
It is quite bizarre to see a genuine act of nature effecting the UK, given that this is a country embarrassingly devoid of natural disasters. We did have an explosion in London a couple of years ago, which ripped a couple of house rooves off two streets up and blew someone’s car bonnet into my back garden, but I think that was attributed to a mishap at Harley Street involving Katie Price, a scalpel and an overzealous surgeon.
For most of us in the UK with nowhere to go any time soon, this volcano pa-lava has all been quite exciting. The eruption seems to have coincided with a unseasonal heatwave, which has had the nation flocking to the coast, enjoying beers aplenty and perving at the hotties and in the sun. Everyone seems to be saying that if this is a natural disaster, we want more. Especially Paddy Power, which would offer odds on grass growing if you gave it the chance. No-one can actually see this mysterious cloud lurking above the unusual clear blue skies enveloping the country anyway. Although, has anyone else out there started to feel slightly disconcerted at a rasping sore throat, their girlfriend’s worsening asthma condition and the cat skeleton in the back lawn?
Apart from that, some of us were actually supposed to be going abroad next week and it seems the Champions League semi-final between Inter Milan and Barcelona is still going to go ahead. Apparently, the European champions can jump on a coach and drive to Milan. Which is nice. But what about the fans?
It’s all very well, the players taking a couple of highly paid days off to take the scenic route to Italy – but how can you expect the supporters to take all that time off? Yet again the interests of the fans are having to play second fiddle to the whims of the advertisers and sponsors. Sod the Spaniards – we can’t have SKY rescheduling Stargate Universe, can we?
Apart from the telly companies, the other beneficiaries of this development will obviously be Inter, who have had longer than Barcelona to recover from their weekend match and, obviously, won’t have had a 24-hour coach ride before the game. Inter have a strong home record in this tournament this season – and have already held the Catalan giants to a 0-0 in Milan in September. They will also have taken heart from Barca’s disappointing goalless draw with Espanyol at the weekend.
In José Mourinho, the Nerazzurri also have the wiliest tactician in the business and if his side defend anything like as well as they did when knocking out Chelsea, Barça’s goose could be barbecued. Those of us cursing the fact that we’re going to miss this great occasion can at least fiddle whilst Barcelona burns, by backing Inter at a best-priced 11/5 with Bodog, which is also top price about the draw.